Requirements for Physician Assistant Admissions

Physician Assistant Admissions

Application Requirements

Gardner-Webb University will begin accepting applications for its January 2025 cohort in late April 2024.

Applications must be CASPA complete and contain all required application materials, including the 1) CASPA Application, 2) Supplemental Application and non-refundable fee by September 1, 2024.

Supplemental Application & Fee

Gardner-Webb University Physician Assistant Program requires a supplemental application. Instructions for completing the supplemental application and submitting the non-refundable $100 supplemental application fee will be sent to applicants via email once their CASPA application becomes visible to PA Admissions.

CASPA Application

Gardner-Webb University will begin accepting applications in late April 2024 for the cohort beginning in January 2025 via the  Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). CASPA submitted applications will be evaluated with particular focus in the following areas: Overall Academic Strength, Prerequisite Courses, Letters of Recommendation, Health Care Experience, and Potential Match to Program Mission and Goals.

Academic Strength

Evaluation of academic strength is based upon transcripts, including course selection, semester load, and cumulative GPA. A Bachelor’s Degree from a US regionally accredited institution is required to apply, and the minimum acceptable overall GPA is 3.0.

Applicants should be aware that acceptance into a PA program is a highly competitive process. A 3.0 GPA is the minimum and does not guarantee an interview or acceptance.

Prerequisite Courses

Each applicant must have completed the following required courses in:

  • Human anatomy and physiology with labs (two semesters or equivalent)
  • Microbiology with lab (one semester or equivalent)
  • Additional biology (one semester or equivalent)
  • Organic chemistry with lab or Biochemistry  (one semester or equivalent)
  • Additional chemistry with lab (one semester or equivalent)
  • Statistics (one course)
  • Psychology (one course) and
  • Medical terminology

For more details about course requirements and duration:

Letters of Recommendation

Each applicant will be required to provide three professional or academic letters of recommendation. At least one letter must come from an advanced care practitioner or physician (PA, NP, MD, DO).

Health Care Experience

A minimum of 1000 direct patient contact hours is required for application. Patient care experience will be evaluated based on the type of experience and the number of hours in a clinical setting.

1,000-hours of patient care experience must be completed no later than September 1, 2024.  Preference will be given to candidates who have direct patient care experiences that require a prior training period based on the length and rigor of the necessary training.

Applicants are encouraged to be detailed in their description of duties and responsibilities when listing healthcare positions within the CASPA application.

Qualifying patient care experiences include but are not limited to: military corpsmen, paramedic, EMT, combat medic, registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), certified nursing assistant (CNA), surgical technician, EEG or EKG technician, emergency room technician, medical assistant (MA), respiratory therapist, radiologic technician, registered dietitian, phlebotomist, lab technician, dental hygienist, x-ray technician, physical/occupational therapist, physical therapy aide, medical social worker*, mental health counselor, ophthalmic technician, chiropractic assistant*, ABA behavioral technician*, athletic trainer, exercise physiologist, health and wellness consultant in a clinical setting, medical scribe.

*These experiences will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of unacceptable patient care experiences include clerical duties for any organization, transporter (orderly), veterinarian work, medical answering service, ward secretary, massage therapist, dental assistant, in-home care assistant (personal caregiver for an ill family member), shadowing, pharmacy tech, pharmaceutical sales, student clinical experience/internships.

U.S. Citizenship and Permanent Residency

The Gardner-Webb University PA Studies Program accepts applications from US citizens and permanent residents.

Additional Requirements

  • Applicants must meet the Gardner-Webb PA Studies Program Technical Standards.
  • If an applicant indicates that English is not their native language on the CASPA application, they MUST provide one of the following requirements:
    • Two (2)-semesters of English composition or its equivalent in English studies, earning a grade of B- or better; or
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores submitted with the CASPA application or directly to GWU PA Admissions from the Educational Testing Service. A minimum total score of 93 with a minimum speaking score of 26 is required.

For additional requirements and details, please visit the Academic Catalog.

For more information, email [email protected]

Johnson C. Smith University MOU

Gardner-Webb University (GWU) Department of Physician Assistant Studies (DPAS) is pleased to participate in the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Bridge to the PA Profession by establishing an agreement with Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in which GWU DPAS will reserve 2 spots for qualified JCSU students. These students will be identified as reserve applicants and must meet all admissions standards of the GWU DPAS and submit an essay clearly articulating goals and plans for their contribution to healthcare delivery to underserved populations. 

All current JCSU students and alumni who are interested, please contact:

Patrick M. Martin, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Professor of Biology
Johnson C. Smith University
Charlotte’s Premier Liberal Arts HBCU |
100 Beatties Ford Road | Charlotte, NC 28216
Email: [email protected] 

Post-Acceptance Requirements

Once accepted into the Gardner-Webb Physician Assistant Program, the following conditions must be met and completed by the stated deadlines to matriculate into the program.

  • Technical Standards Form
  • Health Information Release Form
  • Annual Health Assessment Form
  • Healthcare Experience Verification Form
  • Basic Cardiac Life Support (BLS) Certification (not expiring before January 2026)
  • Official transcripts for all outstanding coursework sent to Graduate Admissions (PA Admissions, Gardner-Webb University, PO Box 7252, Boiling Springs, NC 28017) by October 1, 2024
  • Background Check, Fingerprinting, Drug Screen, HIPAA, OSHA BBP Certification
  • Health Insurance Documentation (policy statement from insurance provider)
  • Immunization History/Verification
  • Compliance with all conditions of acceptance by the deadlines provided by the program